REAL School Marin

Relevant Experience and the Art of Learning

A unique, private, middle school located in central Marin County, California. 

We offer a personalized, intensive and integrated education for exceptional students as they navigate the crucial transition from childhood to adolescence.


Our Students

  • Boys and girls between 11 and 15 years old
  • Grades 6, 7 and 8, as well as 8/9 "gap" year students
  • Student body is at most 15 students, determined by optimal group dynamics

Who Should Apply?

We consider bright, motivated applicants from families who value robust, stimulating education. We provide an alternative for students who might not thrive or are not challenged in the crowded classrooms of the typical public or private school.

We select students for intellectual potential and with an eye to putting together a balanced and diverse group.  We give students individual attention and teach emotional engagement in a more authentic environment than that found in bigger schools.

Students are chosen to construct a well-balanced, socially compatible and intellectually diverse group. We are highly selective in the students we admit.  Of those who go through our admissions evaluation,  we accept about 40%.  RSM maintains a rolling admissions calendar. 

Who Will Thrive at RSM?

We at RSM have spent many years pondering and analyzing the "recipe for success" for adolescent students. We have been able to identify the attributes of families and students who make the most of their time at RSM and move on to sustained achievement and fulfillment in high school.

Students will thrive at RSM if:

  • The family's values mirror the values of RSM. (Most importantly, that academic effort is a priority)
  • The family encourages a strong belief in the value of honest, hard work
  • The family shares RSM values about age-appropriate limits on swearing, access to R-rated movies or pornography, etc.
  • At home, the parents model an investment in reading and in civic responsibility
  • Parents invest time daily in the student
  • Video games are placed off limits during the school week
  • The student has a dedicated time and place to work at home
  • The student comes to school with a good breakfast and at least 8 hours of sleep every day
  • The family embraces and promotes the student's progress towards self-reliance
  • Parents respect the school calendar and avoid taking the student out of class for trips
  • There is full transparency between parents and school regarding the student's history in education, psychiatry, neuro-psych and medical issues
  • There is full transparency regarding the family situation (divorce, trouble with the law, substance use, etc.)
  • Parents support the tenet that the student owns his own work and his own behavior. (Our conferences are conducted whenever possible with the student chairing the discussion)

Which High Schools accept RSM Students?

  • The Branson School
  • Choate-Rosemary Hall
  • Marin Academy
  • The San Francisco Bay School
  • San Francisco International High School
  • The Marin School
  • Putney School
  • Groton School
  • Tamalpais High School
  • Redwood High School
  • Marin Catholic High School
  • Stuart Hall High School
  • Drew School
  • Brewster Academy

REAL School Marin Student Tenets

REAL School students and teachers observe the following tenets of attitude and behavior as a condition of membership in the community and participation in all activities:

  • Maintain basic standards of etiquette and kindness. Say please and thank you. Think about the other guy first. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Remember: "The group first, me second."
  • Clean up your mess and help others clean up theirs. We all share the space and equipment at REAL School. Treat it gently and respectfully.
  • Time is precious. Do not waste your time or that of others.
  • Think before you speak or act. No "put-downs." Use "I" messages.
  • Cleanliness is a virtue. Maintain it in your person and in your surroundings.
  • Respect the group and all individuals in it. We are all we have. If we can make it with each other, we can make it anywhere and with anyone on earth.
  • Everyone is unique and worthy of respect and attention. When someone "has the floor," the rest of us listen attentively.
  • In situations involving issues of safety and appropriateness, teachers have the last word because they have more experience in the world.
  • Accepting responsibility for yourself and your own actions is the goal of all of the above.
  • Other guidelines we will figure out as a group as time goes along during the year. 

Discipline Procedure:

If a student violates any behavior or attitude tenet, the first step will be a conference between student and teachers. We will write a plan of action for correcting the problem which will be signed by the student, teachers and parents. A second violation will result in a parent-student-teacher conference, recorded in writing with a plan of action, including consequences for non-compliance, one of which may be exclusion from overnight trips. Everyone will sign this plan. In the event of a third offense, the student may be asked to withdraw from REAL School, at the sole discretion of the teachers, per the enrollment agreement.

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